Virtualisation in your school: Installation

Taken from our Virtualisation with Microsoft® Hyper-V eBook (available to view and download below).

Following on from our recent post in this series - deciding on your hardware for virtualisation, we’ll move on to installation. So you have run your trial, planned your virtualisation setup and decided on the specifications for your hardware, all you need to do now is install the system. That sounds simple and to a certain extent it is.

The basic steps include:

• Connecting your hosts to your network
• Setting up your storage LUN’s
• Connecting your hosts to your storage solution
• Installing Windows® Server 2008 R2 to your hosts
• Enabling the Hyper-V role
• Enabling the failover clustering role
• Installing your virtual servers

While these are the basics steps to installing a virtualised infrastructure there are, as you have probably guessed, a number of factors you have to consider.

Network connection

As we discussed earlier in the eBook your network connectivity can play a large part in your end user experience, you also have to consider the management of the host and connection to your storage solution. In an ideal world your host server would have separate connections for each of the networks it has to service. The simple diagram below shows a host server with a series of network connections.



In this scenario the server would require 4 network interfaces; however this only gives the virtual servers on the host a single connection to the domain LAN. A much better scenario would be to increase the number of network interfaces so that once Hyper-V is installed you can assign more interface to the domain LAN.

Setting up your storage LUN’s
A LUN on a storage unit is a logical space that can then be assigned to the virtualisation infrastructure. How you set up your LUN’s and assign them depends heavily on the manufacturer of your chosen storage solution. When setting up your LUN’s, you need to consider how much data you are likely to store, how much this data may expand. These two factors will affect how many and the size you assign to your LUN’s.


Failover clustering

Because virtualisation puts a number of virtual servers on one physical host server, it’s necessary to plan for the failure of one host server, which could otherwise have serious and widespread consequences. Hence the use of ‘Failover Clustering’, which is the technology that allows the virtual servers on a failed host to ‘failover’ seamlessly to another host. Effective failover clustering as provided for in Hyper-V is clearly an essential feature of virtualisation. It’s sophisticated and reliable and experience shows that the end user cannot detect the failure of a server currently in use. That said, it is relatively simple to set up, and running the wizard on a host will guide you through the steps for enabling the technology.

The first step in the setting up of failover clustering is to validate the cluster. To do this you will need all your hosts setup, the Hyper V role installed and connection to your storage solution complete and working. Validation of the cluster carries out checks on the
system and simulates failed hosts. While you can create the cluster even if elements of the validation fail it is worth noting that if you place a support call with Microsoft® in the future, they will ask to see the original validation report to verify that the system was fully functional when setup. It is also worth making sure validation passes just to give you peace of mind that your system is ‘up to the job’.

You can view and download our Virtualisation with Microsoft® Hyper-V eBook below.

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